Session Two: Fausto, Andrea Bussmann

Fausto, Dir. Andrea Bussmann

Date: Wednesday 27 March
Time: 20:30
Venue: Cinema One


Fausto, Dir. Andrea Bussmann, Mexico-Canada, 2018, DCP, 70 min., Spanish with English subtitles

ante mis ojos (Before My Eyes), Dir. Lina Rodriguez, Colombia-Canada, 2018, DCP, 7 min., Spanish with English subtitles.

This enthralling ethnographic essay film, Fausto, directed by Canadian Andrea Bussmann, came about when Bussmann was on a beach holiday in the state of Oaxaca in Mexico, with her partner, the Mexican filmmaker Nicolás Pereda, with whom she has co-directed one feature. His present of a Sony A7S, a camera which can operate in low lighting conditions, set Bussmann on the trail of local stories and myths, which she connects with wider themes to do with technology, perception and the self. Like many an essay film there’s a first-person narrator, although clearly unreliable, adding another element of slipperiness to an already layered and complex film that takes as its starting-point the Faust legend in relation to colonialism. It’s incredible what Bussman is able to conjure with such minimal means; apart from all the head-spinning ideas, it’s also a magically sensuous evocation of this stretch of coast, populated by larger-than-life figures who emerge in a series of atmospheric, mysterious night scenes.

Shot on grainy, amber-like Super 8, Lina Rodriguez’s elusive and evocative ante mis ojos (Before My Eyes) offers a fragmentary glimpse of Colombia’s mythic Lake Guatavita, long considered the inspiration for the legend of El Dorado.

Session One: A Moon For My Father, Mania Akbari and Douglas White

Date: Tuesday 26 March
Time: 20:30
Venue: Cinema One


A Moon For My Father, Dirs. Mania Akbari and Douglas White, UK-Iran-Germany, 2018, DCP, 85 min.,English and Farsi with English subtitles

It’s hard to think of another essay film in recent memory that deals with such weighty themes – death and loss, memory, love, family ties, the body, birth, artistic creation, and how these somehow all mysteriously connect – with such intimacy, directness and lightness of touch as A Moon for My Father, co-written and co-directed by London-based Iranian filmmaker Mania Akbari and her partner, the British sculptor Douglas White. The form is epistolary, an exchange of letters over a period of several years from 2013 to recently, with imagery drawn from White’s art works, family photos, archive footage from Iran, and the couple’s everyday life together, deftly interwoven. We’re privy to witnessing a cross-cultural relationship deepen and transform, through art, through trying to make sense of the past, through dealing with pain and illness. The film is beautifully understated, leaves lots of space for the viewer to engage and reflect, and is all the more moving for that.

Following the screening Mania Akbari and Douglas White will be in conversation with Miranda Pennell.

Writing with The Camera: Unconventional approaches to Essay Filmmaking

The BAFTSS Essay Film SIG and the Derek Jarman Lab


 Writing with The Camera: Unconventional approaches to Essay Filmmaking

 A roundtable discussion and workshop for essay film practitioners and enthusiasts. The gathering aims to promote the exchange of knowledge and ideas about the screenwriting process and screenplay development for the essay-film, as part of the London Essay Film Festival.

Date of the workshop: 24th March 2018 (10 am – 1 pm).

Deadline: 15th March 2018

Location: Birkbeck Cinema, 43 Gordon Square, Birkbeck School of Arts, Birkbeck London WC1H 0PD

During the session, we will introduce approaches to screenwriting outside conventional formats and discuss how the participants’ essay-film projects might draw from the application of similar development techniques. The focus will be on processes of layering, working and re-working material, remaining flexible to facilitate moving backwards and forwards between scripting, editing and devising sound/VO. Filmmakers Romana Turina and Rebecca E. Marshall will look at this process within their completed works and how open systems of development loops can make use of both carefully planned sequences and unexpected moments.

Participants of the workshop will be asked to bring examples of storyboard/script/ notebooks/image collection from their projects. In the second part of the session, we will share and discuss these documents.


Date: 24th March 2018

Time: 10am – 1pm

  • 10 am: welcome, opening presentation and introduction
  • 10:30 am – 12 am: Roundtable Discussion – individuals present their ongoing projects one by one.
  • 12 am – 1 pm: Participant’s Materials displaying on the tables – knowledge exchange and discussion on process.



If you are interested in participating, please send a 150-word description of the project and a 100-word bio to:  or

before 15th March 2018.

Session Ten: Montgomery Clift documentary (work-in-progress session)

In this work-in-progress session, filmmakers Robert A. Clift and Hillary Demmon will present and show extracts from their forthcoming documentary project, which scrutinizes the popular image of Clift’s uncle, classic Hollywood film star Montgomery Clift.

Tuesday 27 March 2018, 13:00

Birkbeck Cinema: FREE event [book here]

The screening will be followed by a conversation between the filmmakers Robert A. Clift, Hillary Demmon and Essay Film Festival director Dr. Michael Temple.

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Session Sixteen: ★/Johann Lurf

A scintillating, brilliantly edited collage of shots of the night sky, lifted from 550 films from the beginning of cinema history right up to the present day.

Thursday 29 March 2018, 20:30 

Cinema One, ICA: [book here]

★, Johann Lurf, Austria, 2017, 4K DCP, 99 minutes – UK premiere.

The screening will be followed by a conversation between filmmaker Johann Lurf and critic and curator Olaf Möller

With support from the Austrian Cultural Forum, London and Open City Docs.

Continue reading “Session Sixteen: ★/Johann Lurf”